Professor: Don’t bring firewood into Maine

Posted Aug. 14, 2010, at 12:38 a.m.

ORONO, Maine — A University of Maine professor has warned campers and outdoor enthusiasts not to bring firewood into the state.

“Maine’s forests have suffered from the introduction of pests resulting in Dutch elm disease, white pine blister rust, beech bark disease, and chestnut blight,” William Livingston, who teaches and conducts research on tree pests and disease, said in a press release Friday. “Therefore, it’s important for all of us to help the Maine Forest Service in its efforts to keep new invasive pests out of the state.”

Though summer is winding down, the threat of these invasive species remains high, according to Maine State Entomologist Dave Struble. The Asian longhorned beetle begins showing up in late summer, he said.

Foresters and others are concerned about the potential for forest destruction caused by the Asian longhorned beetle, the woolly adelgid and the emerald ash borer, which have invaded forests in the Northeast and threaten Maine’s 17 million acres of woodland and the thousands of jobs dependent upon the forest industry, Struble said in the release.

The press release was issued in support of a proclamation recently signed by Gov. John Baldacci that designated August as Asian Longhorn Beetle Awareness Month. On April 1, Baldacci signed a bill that targets potentially infested out-of-state firewood.

“We are trying to make visitors aware that it is not only unwise, but now also illegal, to bring firewood from home when you come to Maine,” Struble said. “First, we do not want people to bring firewood, but we also want people to look out for signs of damage.”

It is important for the public to help researchers and foresters monitor insect-related damage to trees by reporting evidence of the pests, he said.

On the Web: http://www.state.me.us/doc/mfs/idmhome.htm

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